I seldom have nightmares, and when I do, I mostly enjoy them; they can provide really powerful, strange imagery to use in fiction. But I had a terrible one last night.
I was in the park, looking for my son, who I knew had wandered away. I wasn’t too worried yet, but I was getting anxious. I heard my son’s voice and went toward a lavishly-appointed tour bus parked on the grass. I climbed on board and walked down the aisle, and there was my son, dressed in strange fuzzy pajamas, curled up in one of the bus’s carpeted overhead bins, smiling. I said, “Honey, we’re not supposed to be in here, let’s go.”
Then a man appeared, holding a syringe in his hand, and stuck the needle in my arm. I tried to fight him, ineffectually, as my limbs and eyelids grew heavy. I thought, “No, no, this can’t be happening,” as afraid as I’ve ever been in my life. The man just stood there grinning as I stumbled against the seats and fell to the floor in the aisle. When I drifted fully into unconsciousness on the bus, I woke up in bed.
I opened my eyes to the dim morning light in the windows, and my son in bed next to me — he’d crawled in to join me around 3:30 in the morning — sleeping angelically. I felt a moment of pure relief…
And then I thought, “What if I’m still drugged unconscious on the bus, and this is the dream?”
I suppose I am sometimes still a horror writer.